THE Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-SA) has released a report exposing rampant corruption allegedly taking place at the Midlands provincial mining department (PMD) offices.
Describing the activities as a threat to national development, the report, dated October 6 and compiled by the organisation’s director Obert Chinhamo, says the mines offices had been captured by corrupt syndicates.
“The office is accused of corruption and maladministration that threatens national development and the attainment of Zimbabwe’s vision 2030. ACT-SA has from 2018 been receiving several reports that the mines office was captured by some individuals, including some political elites, rich miners and peggers who dictate how the office operates and how decisions are made,” the report read.
“In addition, there are reports of the existence of syndicates involving officials at the mines offices that snatch the poor and less-connected people’s mines. This corruption continues unabated and most of the time with impunity.”
The report also revealed that some individuals bypass the long queues at the provincial mining director’s secretary office, with some spending long hours with the mines officials, while miners who would have travelled long distances from places as far as Gokwe North and Mberengwa were ignored.
“Based on corruption tip-offs and complaints that ACT-SA has been receiving over the years, we can conclude that the arrests previously witnessed targeting some PMDs constitute a ‘drop in an ocean’ since almost everyone at the Midlands PMD’s office is accused of corruption.
“It is alleged that the entire PMD’s office feeds on corruption, and all those refusing to pay bribes suffer irreparable harm. Their applications take a long time to be processed. In some cases, rich mining claims are taken and given to those who pay bribes. Furthermore, registered peggers pay bribes to expedite processing of their clients’ applications,” the report further read.
ACT-SA accused the Midlands mines office of issuing fake mining licences, co-ordinates and supporting documents.
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“Documents are sometimes lost and deliberately misplaced to punish all those refusing to pay bribes. In addition, the PMD’s office largely serves the interests of the political elite who have amassed vast mining claims for speculative purposes at the expense of some genuine miners who would have put them to good use,” alleges the report.
ACT-SA challenged the Mines minister to clean up the ministry and restore sanity in the way things were done.
Efforts to get a comment from Mines minister Zhemu Soda were fruitless as his mobile phone number went unanswered since Friday last week.